Hello friends, it’s been a while! Blogs tend to come and go, you’re familiar enough with the reasons for that, so I’ll instead give a little update on what I’ve been doing in the last two and a half years!
Writing reviews for The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and (formerly) Legends of Tomorrow at 411mania.com
Got a new fulltime job working on the new Mass.gov website
I had a kid! Yeah, I buried the lede, this is really the big one. His name’s Rowan, and he’s great.
Generally figuring out what life looks like in this new phase. Turns out having a kid will kind of redefine everything.
Started working on a novel!
Since Rowan came along, finding time to be creative has been hard, but in the last year I missed it dearly and made a point of finding time for it. I’m happy to say it’s been going well and I’ve been putting a lot of work into not just writing but into outlining, plotting, and asking a lot of questions about my writing to help me improve it. I’ve also been working (admittedly more slowly) on a new game design.
Since this has gone relatively well and I’m dedicated to pushing forward, one of my resolutions for 2018 is to resurrect this blog by posting once a week. That’s the goal, we’ll see how I do with it! Once a week seems doable, though. I’m not locking myself in on any specific topics or days for these posts. And hey, if there are special requests, please let me know in the comments.
I’m looking forward to getting back to blogging. Happy new year!
Over the last few months, I’ve been playing catch up on Pretty Little Liars, got through Season 5 just in time for the start of Season 6, and was able to watch live as we all found out the true identity of the Liar’s long-game tormentor, A. I actually watched this show live when it first started six years ago, but stopped before the first season ended. Why did I stop? Why did I start up again? What do I think about the latest but oddly not quite final plot twist? Let’s dive in. Expect spoilers.
Oh, ew. Ew. I feel icky. I hate answering this question. But answer it I must.
First of all, thank you for wanting to read my books. Really. I realize that on this planet there are trampoline gyms and elephant rides and a whole host of other fun things you could be doing with your time, so I appreciate the fact that you wish to devote it to eyeballing my words. I am touched and humbled.
Authors and artists do what they love because they are passionate about creating the things that they love to create. Generally speaking, they do not do it for the money (of which, sorry to say, there is precious little for most). But artists still need money to live. Painters can’t use their artwork to put a roof over their heads; paintings are made of canvas and are bad at keeping the rain out. Authors can’t eat their…
Plot and story derive from conflict – anybody who’s tried writing anything has figured this out at some point. In order for something to happen, you need the character(s) to do something. In order to make that something they do interesting, there needs to be something at stake. Things are only at stake if there is some situation in which Option A is preferred over Option B and yet, with inaction or failure surpass some obstacle, Option B will come to pass or remain. That state of affairs is called “conflict” – I want A, but I have to overcome (whatever) to achieve it, otherwise B.
So concludes your really, really basic lesson in plotting stories.
The idea of conflict is simple enough, but how to go about creating it is infinitely complex. You need things to be at stake, yes, but what constitutes that? Furthermore, how large should the obstacle be…
You could win this, and with my name scribbled in it! Surely, your descendants will sing of this immortal day!
Today is a very special day. My friend, A.F.E. Smith, has a book out today. It’s called DARKHAVEN, and it sounds really cool, and you should all buy it. To celebrate, AFE is throwing a release party, at which you can win many prizes and much wealth. Well, prizes. Mostly in the form of books or artwork from your favorite authors. Which, now that I think of it, is very much the same thing as wealth.
But I digress.
I, the intrepid author of this, your fourth or fifth favorite blog, am participating in this party in two very important ways.
Way the First
Ms. Smith will be interviewing me on her release party page at 3pm EST (or 8pm UK time). You can ask questions, too! Stop on…
So, by now you’ve heard me jawing about my two novels (The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood) which, together, really comprise a single novel. That single novel was the one I originally submitted to Harper Voyager and now, after being apart for so very long, they are together again at last! This is my vision as I originally intended it – the director’s cut, if you will (though, really, it isn’t any different than the other two books, just presented back-to-back in one volume).
To avoid any potential confusion, you will note that the cover artists have combined both covers into one bold, yellow vision.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my book has been reunited with itself and now you can read the entirety of The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood in one volume under its original title, THE OLDEST TRICK!
Yes! Finally, Blood and Iron, Part 2 of the Saga of the Redeemed, is released today!
Do you know how hard it is living with all these spoilers in my head? It’s really hard. Every time somebody would walk up to me and start talking about what they hope/think will happen to Tyvian, Artus, Hool, and so on, it was all I could do to keep from yelling “NO! THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS AT ALL!” or “HOW DID YOU GET INSIDE MY BRAIN, YOU FIEND?”
Now you can all buy it and see for yourself. Please do!
This one doesn’t end with a “To Be Continued.” I promise. (Oh, and Book 3 comes out in the fall)
Hello there, friends! Say, have you heard I have a novel out? No?! Heavens to murgatroyd, wherever have you been? Well, no matter, no matter – we’ll fix things up right soon. Here’s what I’m going to do:
I’m going to give you a free copy of THE IRON RING. Yes, that’s right – give you one. For free.
I’ve got a bunch of copies of THE IRON RING to give to you good people. Why? Well, it just so happens the sequel to THE IRON RING is coming out on June 2nd, and I want to give some people a chance to read the first one before they read the second, right? Only seems fair, and time is of the essence, my friends.
Now, obviously this is such a stupendous deal that I might be inundated with requests for that limited number of free copies, and then I’d have to…
Nothing like a sinus infection & viral bronchitis combo to slow your week, topped off with busting up your phone! At I can say that I am on the mend; as for the phone, that remains to be seen.
Since the Daily Post doesn’t have this week’s photo challenge up yet, here’s a topic that crossed my mind again recently and does on occasion when I’m writing or designing, or just reading about games and media in general: diversity. I’ll be talking mostly about games here, but a lot of this applies to other media like movies, TV, comics, and so forth, so expect some crisscrossing of that line.
It’s no big secret or shock that most game protagonists are the default white male. Most designers are white men, and historically their target demographic has been white males. It still baffles me that some people react some strongly against this “status quo” being changed or challenged, but that’s a different topic altogether. I understand why this is the default–the old adage of “write what you know” is a powerful and natural direction to take when writing. It’s easiest to imagine yourself as the protagonist of a story. If you were to take a look at all my writing and roleplaying characters over the years, you’d find that most of them were female, white, with red or brown hair. This, and likewise the default white casts or male white protagonists of TV shows, movies and games did not stick out to me as odd for a long time. Continue reading “Diversity in Games (and Other Media)”→
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Motion.”
It’s back! A quick refresher, I used to hit up The Daily Post every Friday to see the lovely photos submitted to their weekly photo challenge. Not being a photographer but finding some real lovely pics in there, I started using one picture each week as inspiration for a short piece of writing.
This week’s challenge on was “Motion,” and my inspiration is this picture by danbochat–lovely work!
Lighting the wick within the paper lantern, I was surprised at how effective the small heat source really was at inflating the balloon, at how quickly the lantern in my hands felt eager to lift into the air. Watching the other around me begin to fill the night sky, they were like falling stars in reverse, and it seemed that this was how wishes should be made: on the stars we send into the ether, letting them go, letting them leave us, and trusting that they would bring that wish out into the world. Like the flap of the butterfly’s wings, perhaps, the heat of that small fire would lift the lantern and affect the wind patterns and set off the chain of minute events that lead to the wish it carried coming true. It would be carried off to where it needed to go, lifted by hope and faith and one wish, one tiny flaming wick.
Something about that idea felt more genuine than the path of a star falling to the earth, leaving the heavens to crash to just one point, burdened by the wishes of so many. This lantern now leaving my hands, this was mine and mine alone. And it shared the warm night air with so many others, filling the view above us with our stars and the ones already in the sky, all of them taking flight together, but each with its own wish and its own mission. Not stars that were fading and ending, but stars that were just being lit, just beginning their journeys.